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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

brushed and his countenance pensive but unper-
turbed. He might conceivably have been twiddling a
liqueur glass in a Piccadilly restaurant. Unfortunately
he had no liquid refreshment to offer, but his philo-
sophic way of greeting me was a consolation and in
him I confided my dilemma. With an understanding
air he assumed his monocle, deliberated for a while,
snuffed the candle wick and wrote out an authorita-
tive looking document headed "Organization of F.F.
Parties". The gist of it was "15 Bombers (each carry-
ing 5 grenades). 5 Carriers (also act as bayonet men),
 i Full Rank." There wasn't much in it, he remarked,
as he appended "a little bit of skite about consolida-
tion and defensive flanks". It certainly looked simple
enough when it was done, though I had been at my
wits' end about it.

While he was fixing up my future for me I gazed
around and thought what a queer refuge I'd found for
what might possibly be my final night on earth. Dug-
out though it was, the narrow chamber contained a
foggy mirror and a clock. The clock wasn't ticking,
but its dumb face stared at me, an idiot reminder of
real rooms and desirable domesticity. Outside the
doorless doorway people were continually passing in
both directions with a sound of shuffling feet and
mumbling voices. I caught sight of a red-capped Staff
Officer, and a party of sappers carrying picks and
shovels. The Tunnel was a sort of highway and the
night had brought a considerable congestion of traffic.
When we'd sent my document along to the Adjutant
there was nothing more to be done except sit and wait
for operation orders. It was now about ten o'clock.

As evidence of my own soldierly qualities I would
like to be able to declare that we eagerly discussed
every aspect of the situation as regards next morning's
536